Definition of bowdlerize in English:


Syllabification: bowd·ler·ize
Pronunciation: /ˈbōdləˌrīz, ˈboud-


[with object]
Remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that it becomes weaker or less effective: (as adjective bowdlerized) a bowdlerized version of the story
More example sentences
  • Other books were bowdlerized, including Boccaccio's Decameron and Castiglione's The Courtier.
  • In 1979, he discovered that ‘some cubby-hole editors’ had bowdlerized his book in 98 places.
  • Mistress Quickly's lines were severely bowdlerized in the 19th century.
purge, sanitize, water down
informal clean up


mid 19th century: from the name of Dr. Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare in 1818, + -ize.



Pronunciation: /-ˌrizəm/
More example sentences
  • This classic example of politically correct bowdlerism is not the end of the world, to be sure.
  • So long as I am a school director I will raise my voice against bowdlerism, and censorship of any kind.
  • This edition restores Hardy's original punctuation and removes the bowdlerisms forced upon the text on its initial publication.


Pronunciation: /ˌbōdləriˈzāSHən, ˌboud-/
More example sentences
  • But none of this comes close to making up for what is a standard made-for-television biography eviscerated by massive, inexcusable bowdlerization.
  • But the Hollywood treatment reflected the bowdlerization of the era.
  • As the example shows, bowdlerization is not only dishonest, it leads to dumbing down of language and ideas.

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Word of the day noisome
Pronunciation: ˈnɔɪs(ə)m
having an extremely offensive smell